Understanding Sources and Citations in TMG

(Note: This applies to all versions of TMG)

Many TMG users acquire TMG partly because it has the reputation of being very good in the documentation area.  Of these, many have not used citations before other than maybe a little  in high school.  Still others are only familiar with a specific style that doesn't quite match those that are produced by TMG (assuming they get that far). 

In most cases, the style of the citation, e.g., the general design, is not of great importance.  Each field of study may have its own distinct citation style, such as for chemistry, sociology, psychology, etc.  Until 1980, a few in the field of genealogy used a general style delineated in the Chicago Manual of Style published by the University of Chicago Press.  Still others were trained to use styles designed by Kate L. Turabian in A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (which mostly follows the Chicago Manual) while others were trained using other styles.

Unfortunately, at that time most genealogists did not document their work with citations of any kind although a few may have included a few vague references to their sources. In an attempt to educate genealogists concerning the need for documentation, Richard S. Lackey wrote Cite Your Sources A Manual for Documenting Family Histories and Genealogical Records which was published in 1980 by the University Press of Mississippi. This and efforts by various genealogical societies and groups soon had more and more genealogists trying to properly document their work.   

Soon the Internet, CDs, and other more modern technological media came into being.  Many genealogists who wanted to cite their sources from such modern media were then unsure of how the appropriate citations should be formed.  Since Lackey had died, it fell to Elizabeth Shown Mills in 1997 to publish a new style guide for the genealogical community and to include the newer media in Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian.

There are more differences between Lackey's style guide and Mills' style guide than just the modern media citations.  Some of these differences are minor while others have greater impact.  One big difference is in how the bibliographic citation is designed.  In Lackey and many other style guides, the Bibliography is sorted by either the author of a document or (if the author is not applicable) the title of the document as is more or less standard with other styles.  In Mills, many of the documents having no author are sorted by location of the repository in which the document was found.  In this way, the repositories of documents are grouped together helping the reader to more easily plan research trips. 

Another difference is that Lackey wrote and explained in some detail about fourteen document types and how each citation was formed.  Thus Lackey attempted to teach those who had no prior citation experience what to do when they encountered a document that did not quite fit the fourteen citation models he delineated.  After some seventeen years of more and more people using Lackey, Mills apparently considered that the reader was by now more knowledgeable about the formation of a citation and expanded the number of models and document types to over one hundred. So where Lackey's models were somewhat generic in form, Mills' models  are more specific and somewhat more standardized.

In addition, Mills goes into fewer details about how a citation is formed and lets her models speak for themselves.  Unfortunately, while Mills greatly expanded the number of model citations, all of the different document types that a genealogist may encounter are not covered.  Mills readily admits this and notes that a style guide covering all different document types would be very large and nearly impossible to create since there would still be many that would not be included. Therefore, she suggests finding the document type most closely resembling the specific document and either using that model as is or modifying it to fit the current need using the general forms provided.

Model Citations and TMG

The model citations set forth in Lackey and Mills are just that -- models to be used in creating citations.  TMG's standard citation templates were designed based on Wholly Genes interpretation of Lackey's and Mills' models. You may disagree with their interpretation.  I do in a few cases.  But then others disagree with my interpretation.  So there is a lot of personal opinion about citation design.  Also there are some  minor  inconsistencies among the various models.  

For these reasons, you may wish to modify one or more Source Templates in a Source Type (model citation) and that is perfectly acceptable.  For example, if you are using the Mills style (or the Custom style initialized to Mills (the default installation)) and wish to have a single Source for a census rather than have a different Source for each line or family entry, you will have to modify the Source Templates to make them more generic.  As noted, this is fine, but watch your design and be consistent with all other modified Source Types and Source Templates.  

In designing new Source Types and Source Templates, you should study Mills (or Lackey) and follow the general form of the models.  Again be consistent in your designs.  In TMG, there are three kinds of Source Templates-- Full Footnote (FF), Short Footnote (SF), and Bibliography (B).  Many style guides only speak of two types and do not discuss the Short Footnote.  Thus many users don't quite understand the purpose of the Short Footnote.

As a paper is created, source references are given in the order cited either as footnotes or endnotes.  These citations then follow one behind another on the bottom of the page or at the end of the paper.  If two (or more) immediately adjacent citations are to the same document, we leave the first citation as is and change the later citation to "ibid" (a Latin abbreviation meaning "in the same place").  Now if we have a number of almost adjacent citations, we cannot use "ibid" since the immediate prior citation is not for the same source document.  But rather than print the Full Footnote citation again, we print the Short Footnote.

Selecting/Designing a Source Type For a Specific Document

Many users profess difficulty in determining which Source Type is to be used for a certain document.  Those using Lackey seem to have fewer problems in this regard since there are fewer Source Types from which to choose.  But the many Mills Source Types seem to cover so many kinds of documents that it seems that all kinds are covered even though they aren't.  So the user needs to analyze the document as to its general kind and use the corresponding Source Type.  In doing this, the user may find that the document in question does not really correspond to any of the standard Source Types.  In that case, the user needs to find the closest match and create a Custom Source Type based on that standard model.  The user would then design Source Templates that tend to follow the general design criteria for Mills (or Lackey).  Again the user should be as consistent as possible when modifying or designing Source Templates.

Most users can quickly select the most appropriate Source Type for a document by just looking through the various Source Type names and inspecting the model citation associated with each.  In a few cases, a document type will not have a corresponding model citation.  In that case, the user must determine what Source Type the document is most alike.  

Many users revert to the Lackey category of Source Types to select the most appropriate Lackey Source Type.  Then they more or less convert from Lackey to Mills and thus find a Mills Source Type that corresponds to the document in question.  There is nothing mysterious to this process.  It is often as much one user's opinion as another.  In Mills, many Source Type are very similar and when examined, it is often found that they are either the same or have only minor obvious differences.  These minor differences are often in the use of one Source Element from a Source Element Group rather than another Source Element from the same Source Element Group.

This is as good a point as any in discussing Source Elements and Source Element Groups.  TMG is designed so that each Source Type uses Source Element Groups to create Source Templates.  If different Source Templates used the same name for a Source Element Group, it might be difficult for the user to understand what information should be entered into that field.  Thus Each Source Element Group may be "re-named" to an alternate name or alias.  So for one Source, you may be asked for a Manuscript Number while another Source would ask for a Call Number and a third Source might ask for a Record Number.  The data (for each appropriate Source) would be placed in the same Source Element Group within TMG's Source file.  This reduces the file size required and makes things easy for the user.

Differences in Full Footnote and Bibliographic Citations 

As user will see there is a difference between Full Footnote and Bibliography Source Templates for any one Source Type.  Users will also note that both these citations contain about the same type of information and often in the same format with minor differences.  Again most users may be familiar with the Full Footnote form of citation including the punctuation used with many commas.  Some may not be familiar with the Bibliography kind of citation with more periods and fewer commas.  This is more or less standard for all style guides.  

A major difference is  the form of the author name's) with the name being printed in the usual western style of names "first middle surname" for the Full Footnote.  But the name is reversed for the Bibliography citation so that the surname is printed first, e.g., surname, first middle.  The reason for this is so that when the bibliography (or list of works cited) is printed, the list will be in surname order (non-author documents notwithstanding).

As noted above, another difference is in how non-author document bibliographic citations are sorted in the list of works cited when following Mills.  In this case, most Mills models call for the location of the document repository to be placed at the beginning of the citation which allows similar repositories to be sorted together.  The locations are thus arranged so that the larger geographic entity is given first followed by the next largest, etc.  In other words, a repository would be printed in the order of country, state, county, city and the like.  

This location format is different from CMOS and most other style guides as most have the non-author bibliographic citations arranged by document title rather than by repository location. As can be seen, bibliographies in the Mills style will be sorted so that the reader can easily see the same repositories grouped together making research trip planning somewhat easier.  The reasoning here is that in genealogies and family histories, the reader is more likely to find a large number of non-author type documents.  This would include vital records located in churches, courthouses, and government archives..  

CMOS provides for an arrangement that better suits such a bibliographic mixture (although they prefer not to use it). Their provision is to arrange the bibliography in sections such as: books, compilations, and other authored material; non-authored material (vital records, census records, etc.); electronic material (e-mail, web sites, etc.); and other sections as appropriate.  This means that the writer must do the grouping manually.  Thus Mills eliminates a lot of this editing.

This would be a good arrangement for most of us. However, neither Mills nor TMG provide for this at this time. For TMG to provide for this would probably require a change in the way Source Types are designed in general -- and probably a change in Mills. The only way we can currently do this is to create the bibliography and then edit the arrangement in a word process

Some users want to know if anyone has had difficulty getting the three Source Templates for a Source Type to come out correctly.  In most cases, there is no problem.  However, some users have not understood some of the citation design differences such as noted above and given in various style guides.  When explained, they usually do not have problems.

Some users want to know if any users have given up and just created a Source Type with a single Text field for each Source Template.  A few TMG users prefer to "hard-word" their Sources by keying in the actual citation forms in the Source Definition Screen Output Form tab.  Mostly these users are ones who have converted from other genealogy programs that use "hard-coded" citations and prefer to continue using them.  The number of these users is small and many eventually change as they become more familiar with TMG.  Either way is fine depending on the user's preference.

How to Determine What Information to Enter in a Source Field

The design of the standard Source Templates in TMG is so that the user can easily decide what should be entered in a particular field in a Source Definition Screen.  Still, many users are not clear about what some entries should be.  The best way is for the user to ask themselves "What or Who is the [Source Element]?"  Let's take one of the Census Source Types (Federal, Filmed) as an example.  The standard Full Footnote Source Template is:

The resulting citation desired for the above Full Footnote would be something like:
                John Smith Household, 1860 U.S. Census, Population Schedule, Sideview Precinct, Montgomery County, Kentucky,
                Enumeration District 23, Supervisor District 14, Page 145, Line 14, Dwelling 247, Family 263

But when the user opens a new Source Definition Screen for this Source Type they see the General tab with the following fields shown at the bottom of the screen:

Record Type

< Date > < Record Info >

< Film >

Now the user asks themselves the question using the first field and the new user is often a bit stumped when they ask -- what/who is the Record Type?  If you are also confused, just turn it around and ask  what type of record is it?  The answer then is fairly obvious -- it is a census record.  Now, one could enter "census" and consider the entry complete, but consider if you see a citation like this in the future.  Will you know what kind of census it is?  It could be a US census, a state census, one taken in another country, or what might be called a special census such as, population, agriculture, manufacturers, mortality, and others.  The best entry would be what the census is called "officially" by the census bureau (in the US) or whatever entity was in charge of it.  Most of the later U.S. general censuses are variously entitled although each may be somewhat different, but an entry something like "U.S. Census, Population Schedule" would be acceptable. Other kinds of censuses would use an appropriate entry.

The next question is -- what/who is the Household?  The answer here is obviously the name of a person or a head of household as shown on the census.  Let's say "John Smith" is the entry on the census.  If the user is only citing the single line entry for John Smith, that is enough.  But if the user is citing the household in which John Smith was enumerated as the head of household, then the user might enter something like "Household of John Smith" or "John Smith Household" to show that others mare included by reference.

The next question is -- what/who is the Date?  Since this is a census entry, there are various dates that could be entered.  One could enter the date the person/household was enumerated, the official or "as of" date on which the census was supposed to be taken, or just the year of the census.  There are various arguments for each, but most agree that the year of the census is what should be entered here.  (This is as opposed to  the date that is entered on the Census (or other) Tag.  In this case, we will say the date is "1860" and enter that.

"What/who is the Record Info?" is the next question.  The user will note that this Source Element is marked as Conditional (surrounded by angles) which means it is optional and if left blank, TMG just ignores it.  Many users prefer to leave this blank (allowing the Source to be used for various persons or households, a generic type Source).  If one does use it as a generic Source, however, they should make sure the Household Source Element is also marked as Conditional. In any case, the entry appropriate to the Record Info field is the data that ties the people enumerated to the line(s) on the census page.  That is, the Record Info would be the page number, line number, dwelling and family numbers, and any other information that will point a reader to the specific line on the correct page.  It may include the precinct name, enumeration district, and more.  It may also include the name as recorded on the page -- especially if the entry in the Household field is the persons "correctly spelled" name.  Some users may include the full data as entered on the line although I don't feel that is necessary except in unusual situations.

The final question on the General tab of the Source Definition Screen is -- what/who is the Film?  Again, note that this is a Conditional field and may be left blank.  Since this Source Type is for a filmed census, then this would be where one would enter the number of the film one viewed to obtain the information.  For most U.S. census films, one would enter something like "micro-publication series T624, roll 354".

Other Source Types would have other, more, or less questions.  When in doubt about what should be entered in a particular field, file in the obvious fields, study what field(s) are left and see if that doesn't suggest something.  Think what information you might like to have if you were looking for the Source later.  Finally, let me suggest that you acquire either or both the books above.  Lackey is less than ten dollars and Mills is about fifteen to eighteen dollars, so they are within the budget for most users.  Also your local library may have it.  You can then compare the models given in Mills or Lackey and compare that against the Source Templates considering what information is already entered.  This should help you fill in almost all Sources.

There are a few fields that we have not discussed on the General tab of the Source Definition Screen.

On the General Tab, the user must enter an Abbreviation for each Source.  This entry is strictly up to the user.  It should be something that would help the user find this Source later when looking at a list of Sources.  Some users encode their Source Abbreviations in some way so similar ones are grouped together.  For example, they might prefix the Abbreviation with a code such as B for books, C for censuses, DC for Death Certificates, W for Wills, etc. Also a lot will depend to some extent on how you enter Sources -- specific or generic. Other users just enter easily understood and shortened versions of the title of the document or some description of the document.  If you have only a few Source, it won't matter much what you use.  But if you have many Sources (most users wind up with a lot), it may pay you to sit down and consider some coding scheme for the Source Abbreviations. 

Another field on the General tab is the Title field.  Many Source Types call for the Title of the document while others (such as the census example above) don't call for a title.  For types calling for a Title, the entry is obvious.  But for census Source Types and others, the user may wish to enter something in the field so that it won't be blank  Then when they select to sort the Master Source List (MSL) by the Title or to display the MSL in the expanded mode (click the More>> button), then the Sources having no real title will have something to keep them in the order the user wishes.

Other fields for a Source Type depend on the Source Elements in the Source Templates.  Those that are not shown on the General tab may be found on the Supplemental and Attachment tab(s).  For example the Memo or Comments field is located on the Supplemental tab while the Repository is entered on the Attachments tab. Since the standard census Source Type above does not call for the Memo or Comments field, we will leave that blank. Other Source Types (like Letter (Annotated Citation) would use the Comments field in which you might enter a short discussion of the content of the letter and possibly the provenance of the letter.

Finally, in the above example Source Template, the user would select the Attachments tab and select to enter a Repository.  If a Repository has already been created, the user would just select it and entering the Repository ID#  in the Repository Link Entry Screen.  If not, the user would create the Repository.  Note that in the standard Source Template above, the user would create a Repository for the National Archives.  Since the US National Archives is well known, we can assume the "Washington, DC" address and that is not needed for the Repository Address.

However, we note that Repository Address is a Source Element in the above standard Source Template.  We also note that we have not entered the location of the census enumeration.  Since there is no other place to enter this information and comparing the Source Template to the model citation given by Mills shows the location of the enumeration would be entered in a field where the Repository Address Source Element is positioned with the Source Template.  This is one of the times when I disagree with Wholly Genes as to their interpretation of Mills models. If we do not modify the Source Template, then we must enter the location of the Enumeration in the address fields of the Repository.  This means that we may need many Repositories for the National Archives -- one for each census enumeration location.

Since I don't want the multiple National Archives Repositories, I have modified the Source Template to be as follows:

Then the Location field data would be entered on the General tab and no Repository Address is printed.  An alternative to the above would be:

This changes the Repository to Publisher which is somewhat more in line with the function of the National Archives in this case.  Again this Source Element and field would be on the General Tab.  Now since there is no Repository, no entry of any kind is required in the Attachments tab.  You can still enter a Repository, if desired -- but it will not print since it is now not in the Source Template.

Keep in mind that if you change one Source Template, you may need to change others. for that Source or Source Type.

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